Monday, March 31, 2003


Found this travesty courtesy of the This Modern World website. I have no comment concerning this object.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Happy to be here

Since I exhude such outward calm and inner peace I am often asked by those around me, to not only bless their unions and children, but describe to them my most powerful moments of enlightenment.

Ok, here goes.

1) When I was stationed at a little shitty base inside of Camp Pendleton called Campt Margarita my friend, Cale and I would hop in his car every Sunday afternoon to get our weekly marine haircut in the town of San Clemente. Like many California coastal town San Clemente had a pier that jutted a few hundred feet into the ocean. We would time our haircuts so that we could get out to the pier in time to watch the sunset. The light setting the sun setting into the ocean bathes the world light of the warmest red and gold. The light reminded of the colors used by Tolkien when describing Lothlorien. The fifteen minutes of golden light that would die out give way to a cold purple have been with me ever since then.

That was a series of moments that have now condensed into one single memory. I do have one particular instance where I felt this also.

2) When I got out of the Marines in July of 1990 I joined my mother and step father who had moved from Michigan to Charlotte while I was in the service. I remember being very content when I first arrived in town because I was so relieved to no longer be in the Marine Corps. The last six months of my time with them were the longest six months of my life. Naturally I was living with my folks and just enjoying being me again. I used to spend a lot of time at the 13-13 club which was located in the Park Elevator building on South Blvd near where South Blvd goes under I-277. I loved that place while it was open. They brought in a lot of great acts and it was a glorious little dump. The perfect rock-club-inside-an-old-wharehouse. I was driving my step-father's car down South Blvd one weekend night on my way to the club. I don't remember what band was playing that night. What I do remember is being in that car on a fall night with the window rolled down and listening to the local rock station and just feeling a sense of adventure and rebirth as I was heading out all alone to a cool rock club. Something clicked right there and I don't know if I've ever felt more alive while alone and clothed. South Blvd after that night has always been my favorite street in Charlotte. It's unpretentious, it's industrial and you can sometimes see a prostitute. This is the street where you can feel the heartbeat of Charlotte. What you see here is what is really going on in the city. It ain't Cannery Row but it's blue collar.
I'm from Atlantis

Since the secret of time travel has been revealed I am forced to announce that I am the Emperor of the Lost City of Atlantis and my forces will start their invasion when next the moon is full and the Detroit Tigers have a winning record.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Who believes this shit?

I just saw an advertisement on TV for that travesty called the Hummer 2. You see a yellow H2 moving in slow motion across a landscape that is either the planet Mercury, Mordor or a volcano. All these phrases that are meant to imply strength and individuality flash across the screen as the H2 moves gradually out of slow motion and is then seen zooming across this black ashy landscape as if the ring bearer is in a child restraint seat in the back and the Nazgul are swooping down behind it.

My question is are there people out there that actually buy into this bullshit? Do those that drive these behemoths believe in their hearts that they are asserting their individuality and displaying their sexual virility as they drive these boxes to work at the bank? Or are we all participating in one big circle jerk? If so, please, don't get none on me.
Family in the war

A paper in Traverse City, MI wrote an article about my cousin, Jason King, an Army Apache pilot that has been injured. I haven't seen the guy since he and I were both kids but I still was disturbed by the news. I remember we used to travel to the Detroit area and our family would stay with his family. I used to bring a tape recorder and record his father's Bill Cosby records. I was a bootlegger from the get-go. I was curious as to how I would feel if I found that someone I knew was over there. Would I change my mind? Heck no, I'm glad he's going to be alright. Hopefully he won't get to go back even though he wants to. He may get his wish, though, it looks we might be there a while.
I am a big fat pig

Really, I am. Everyday I get fatter. I am going to have to buy new clothes soon.

Vietnam II checklist

Found this puppy on

Amount to be spent in 2003 by the Department of Education: $59.5 billion
Amount requested by the president to kill folks in Iraq: $75.0 billion

Thursday, March 27, 2003

A thousand words

I have been asked before why I left the Marines. I believe this picture is a sufficient explanation. Camping can be miserable, camping with the military is a special type of misery.
Get your war on

If you haven't read Get Your War On please do so now. He uses the word 'fuck' a lot better than I do. Clip art, anti war and foul. What could be better?
No car, baby

I love my bike. I own a Fuji Sunfire which is a low/middle end bike which is good for the beginner. In other words not something to take on ESPN extreme sports show for the Olympus Mons Rally but good enough to tour around my neighborhood.

Around this time last year my car died. The receipt for my bike reads "April 1, 2002." So far it has been the best three hundred dollars I have ever spent. I initially decided I would go car-less for a while and save up enough money to eventually buy a new vehicle. I am getting to the point now where I don't really want a new car. I want to get into a situation with my degree and potential career where I can live without a car. That is now my goal. It's been a few months since I had a concrete goal and now I know what I want to do. I want to get a job somewhere that will allow me to live well without needing a personal gas guzzler. Living without a car has been both restrictive and freeing. It is restrictive because there are certain areas of town, like N. Davidson St, that have clubs I have don't go to like I did before my card died. It is freeing because not having the expense of a car has allowed me to buy a couple of items, electric guitar for one, that I would have had trouble affording before. It has also allowed me to save a little money.

There are two reasons not to have a car:

Practicality: having a car in a giant pain in the ass. Having to maintain a car just sucks money like nothing else you will ever own. Homeowners sinks lots of dough into that particular investment but houses appreciate. Cars do not appreciate, at all. The need to own a car has been the biggest scam ever foisted upon first the American people and then the rest of the world.

Evironment: Cars are bad for the environment. This is a fact and if you don't believe it you are lying to yourself. Even though I was initially driven economically into going car-less, my year without one is actually a point of pride now. My environmental debt is a little lower than it was one year ago.

That is my announcement. Fuck having a car. I am going to attempt to live without one.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Lawful War?

I saw a soundbite just now on CNN by the head of the joint chiefs of staff concerning Iraq not fighting a lawful war by placing weapons near civilians and mistreating POW's. It's war, bubba, what do you expect? They are using strategy which you use when you are faced with an overwhelming force. Remember the Vietcong? They mistreated POW's and used villages as supply bases.

I'm afraid that if the populace doesn't accept the American presence as a liberation we could be in a messy situation. If the population doesn't accept you then the only way you can win is by destroying the infrastructure of the country like we did to Germany in World War II.

Just a thought I had.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Headline of the year

Right here. Thanks again, Drudge Report.
Just in case you were curious

Al Jazeera now has an English site here. It has been loading slow but give it a shot.

Who calls the war what

Each news service seems to desire to put its personal stamp on the American agression in Iraq. I went to the following web sites to see how they refer to the war. Officially at All We Need is Blog we refer to it as the "War in/on Iraq."

CNN: War in Iraq
CBS News: America at War
NBC Nightly News and MSNBC: Target iraq
ABC News: War with Iraq
Fox News: Operation Iraqi Freedom (Party line all the way, baby)
Al War on Iraq
BBC News: War in Iraq
NPR: War in Iraq
Washington Post: War in Iraq
New York Times: A Nation at War
Detroit News: Latest War News
Orlando Sentinel: War with Iraq
Seattle Times: The Iraq War
Sydney Morning Herald: War on Iraq
Amnesty International: Crisis in Iraq (not news but valid)
United Nations: The Situation in Iraq
Christian Broadcasting Network: War in the Gulf (they have a broader goal in mind)
Michael Moore: Operation Oily Residue
Pravda: War
Liberation (French): Le Conflit Avec I'Irak (The Conflict with Iraq)

Monday, March 24, 2003

Blood a'boilin

Even though I think this war is misguided and wrong nothing gets my dander up quicker than seeing American POW's mistreated and our dead violated and displayed. War is nasty and brutal but our servicemen have a reputation as being uncommonly humane when dealing with other POW's and civilian populations. To see them disrespected so causes the desire to arise in me to be allowed access to those responsible for fifteen minutes with a blow torch and a box of razor blades.
Two rides in one day

Saturday evening I made an effort to get to bed at a decent hour so I could get up fairly early and go for a bike ride before the NASCAR race at Bristol started. Yes, dammit, I watched the whole race. Don't try to understand it, just accept it

Chris came by after midnight and he was higher than god. As is his wont, he dominated the musical selections. I was doing my pre-sleepy night night read before he came in the apartment and beat on my bedroom door. I came out again for about half an hour and then went back to bed and left him and Wendell to their tunes. I only had to ask those two yahoos to turn down the stereo once. It could have been worse.

I roused myself out of bed around 9:30, had a little breakfast, dicked around on the computer while I digested while Wendell snored away on the couch and then went for a bike ride. I journeyed on down toward Freedom Park again. This time I wore my backpack and stuck my copy of "The Fellowship of the Ring" into it. It was another glorious day and, since I was there earlier than the previous day, the park wasn't crowded yet. I did a couple of laps around the park just to see who else was there and stopped next to a small slope, hopped off my bike. I walked my bike about halfway up the hill and set her down and then dropped down on my back in the grass and stared up at the sky. It had been way too long since I had done that.

To my right, at the bottom of the tiered hill a group of high school students were spray painting a giant Twister board into the grass and were going to play a huge Twister game to raise money for their school. As tempting as that was I didn't wait around for the fun. I had a race to watch.

I rode back home, watched the race. Fun.

Later in the afternoon I took another bike ride. It was too nice out not to. This time I rode in the opposite direction and went to Borders. I had a hankerin' to buy a DVD. I did, too. I purchased a copy of one of the ten essential movies: Cannonball Run. I don't know what it is about this movie but it kills me. I don't want to give the impression that I think this is a good movie. It's as ass as a movie can be but it makes me laugh.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

I want to ride my bicycle

Today Wendell and I went for a glorious bike ride. We lazed around for most of the morning. He meditated on the couch and I watched a bit of the Busch race at Bristol. It was crash after crash for the Busch drivers today. For those that may care, Darrell Waltrip has become one hell of a good race announcer. He's knows hist shit and he's very funny. I also took Gallagher the invincible cat for a walk with the harness and leash. He loves doing that. I am glad I got him used to the leash while he is young and pliable. Once a cat gets older and is not accustomed to something he will freak out if you try something new on him. I learned that when I tried to take Pippin for a walk. The fur was flying.

Around three we inflated our bike tires and headed out. We cruised through Park Road Shopping center. Hit the wide back roads behind the shopping center and made our way to Freedom Park. The park was packed. There were people, walking, bicycling, jogging, laying on blankets, pushing strollers, kids were playing on the swings and monkey bars, spanex wearing women were playing beach volleyball, Hispanic men were playing soccer, people of all races and creeds were playing tennis, some guys were playing basketball, a homeless guy was sitting on a bench by the entrance, dogs on leashes were leading their humans around the pond, some kid was driving around a battery powered plastic jeep, a guy in a powered wheel chair was doing laps around the pond, rollerbladers flew through traffic like giant skeeters and somene was even trying to fly a box kite. I love it when the park is full of people. Charlotte feels like a community when that occurs.

We left the park and headed up to the Ben and Jerry's on Park Road by the Manor Theater. Wendell got ice cream and I got a bottle of water at the convenience store next door. I don't know how Wendell could eat ice cream in the middle of an 1 1/2 hour bike ride but he did. I would have hurled it back up after about half a mile. He has a constitution like no other.

Lastly I would like to thank the guy in the giant SUV for not killing me as I pulled into the convenience store to buy that bottle of water. I pass one more day by not ending up as a grease spot in the road.
Bill Hicks quote of the week

I've have good times on drugs and bad times on drugs. I've had good relationships and bad relationships but I'm not giving up pussy.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Another story from my Marine Corps days

While serving with 2/9 at Camp Pendleton my unit was sent to Fort Ord, CA for urban warfare training. Fort Ord is located on the Monterey Peninsula, one of the most beautiful places in the world. I haven't seen too much of the world but I have yet to see a locale that rivals the Monterey area. One of the coolest things about staying at Fort Ord was that fact that we were housed in these World War II era barracks. They were beautfiul old structures and sometimes you really could feel something standing in those barracks. I had WWII nostalgia long before it was cool and I loved those old buildings. Judging from some of the recent photos those buildings are falling apart. They weren't in the best shape and many were boarded up when I was there in the late eighties. They must be about ready to fall down now. When I was there they were using the barracks until they were unsafe and then they boarded them up.

During the urban warfare training we would get divided up into groups of about 12 and that group would break up into two teams of six. We would strap on the MILES gear and take turns defending and attacking structures. We would move around to different structures and do it over and over. It was actaully pretty fun. It was also sobering. After about the third or fourth time you get killed you realize this is serious stuff you are training for.

One day we were informed that while we were practicing the attacking and defending of urban structures that we would be randomly doused with tear gas (CS) throughout the day. The gas mask was, even then, a standard piece of equipment and we were all well versed in donning and clearing a mask and performing everyday duties while wearing it. It wasn't a big deal but a dose of CS is unpleasent so it added a nice edge to the proceedings. Everyone was very conscious of the prospect of getting gassed.

One point they drove home to us when we received some additonal training in gas mask use during our training at Fort Ord was that you must not drop your weapon when you put your gas mask on if you are attacked with gas during a fire fight. I believe we were told to hold the weapon between our legs. I guess the reasoning was dropping your weapon to the ground is just not a good idea. It can get dirty or it can accidently discharge which is much worse than getting it dirty or even scratched.

On my team on this day was my partner in crime, Cale Johnson. After we had been at it for a while we hadn't been gassed yet but we could see other groups in surrounding buildings getting hit with CS and hollering the required "Gas! Gas! Gas!" and putting on their masks and continuing to fight. The anitcipation in our group was getting high. We knew that eventually a gas canister was going to fly in one of our windows courtesy of the NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) trainers in the area.

Even something as fun as shooting off blank rounds and lasar bullets at others and hearing the satisfying high-pitched squeal of their MILES gear as you kill them can get a little monotonous. Cale and decided to liven things up a bit the next time it was our turn to take a building. First we were able to lay down some fire which allowed Cale and I to enter the ground floor of the building. Then Cale and I yelled the infamous phrase "Gas! Gas! Gas!" To our immense amusement we heard, coming from the floor above us, the rifles of our opponents do the one thing they were not supposed to do, hit the floor as they were dropped by marines putting their gas masks on. An M-16A2 rifle hitting a cement floor makes a very distinct sound. It's sound all Marines know and we instinctively cringe upon hearing. Cale and I charged up the stairs and killed all six of those motherfuckers. The looks on the faces of those Marines as they knew they had been had, killed and embarrassed was priceless. One guy I put away was actually on his knees stuggling with his mask with his weapon right in front of him. Even if what we did was ethically in a gray area, those six men knew that if they hadn't all dropped their weapons to the floor the two of us would not have been able to waste all of them without either on of us getting shot. The general reaction of the dead guys was, "What the fuck!? Goddammit, that's bullshit!"

Cale had the best laugh in the world. It was an open mouth cackle that could infuriate anyone it was directed act. He put special malice into it this time and then said in his notorious parody of the Marine instructor voice, "Didn't you jarheads pay attention during training? You never release your weapon when you are donning your gas mask under any circumstances ever."

Cale and I insulted our friends a little more, declared the building secure and headed back downstairs and outside into the moist northern California autumn morning. We were as happy about the result of our ruse as we could be. We were feeling very clever. As we exited the building we were confronted by the lieutenant who was refereeing our contests that day. He looked at Cale and me and he must have seen our giant grins. He pulled us to the side.

"Who yelled 'gas?'"

I spoke truthfully (officers respect you if you don't lie to them about something they're pretty sure of anyway), "We did, sir."

"OK, that was pretty smart. And funny. Don't do it again."

"Yes sir." We both spoke.

He then dismissed us and went over and chewed the asses of the guys who had dropped their rifles in order to put on their gas masks. He had heard those rifles hitting the deck also. Cale and I crouched down on our haunches and relished the most pleasing sound in the Marine Corps: someone else getting chewed out.

The closest I ever got to war

Back when I was a fuck up in the Marines I was stationed with the fifth regiment of the 1st division. The battalion I was in was called 2/9 which means second battalion of the ninth regiment which was odd because we were in the fifth regiment. No one could ever tell me why the ninth regiment was divided up amongst other regiments. There was a rumor that it was because of some particularly bloodthirsty acts by members of the regiment during Vietnam. It was good rumor that satisfied us so we didn't bother to investigate its veracity.

I was with the communictions platoon of the headquarters company of this regiment and served with the most colorful group of screwballs I have ever been around. We were miserable a lot of the time because of a staff sergeant who we hated so much that a group of disparate kids drew close. He was our Captain Soble. God, we hated him. He tortured us within the rules and never stepped over the line which caused us to hate him more because we couldn't betray him and we sure tried.

In the fall of 1988 I, and a couple of others from my platoon, were sent on small detatchment to an navy air base in Yuma, AZ. It appears to be a marine air station now. We were sent under the command of a great staff sergeant to instruct the naval personnel how to defend their base against an attack. Actually this staff sergeant was the instructor, he just used this small group I was in as instructional tools. We dug fighting holes and demonstrated how to handle weaponry as he talked. I've had worse duty, believe me. I remember the best thing about being stationed there was eating navy chow. I had no idea how bad Marine Corps food was until I entered a navy mess hall. I almost cried. They had green lettuce. Green lettuce! Jesus Christ, it was like going from Iowa to Oz.

After a week of instruction a Marine infantry company was going to attack the air station and the squids were going to defend their turf. Both sides were wearing MILES gear which is glorified lasar tag. You've seen it used if you have seen that ass Eastwood movie, Heartbreak Ridge. The infantry company was transported to the base in a C-130. It was just after dusk when the plan landed and I was laying on a pile of rubble outside the airfield. With my rifle, full of blanks and lasar equipped, at the ready. When that company of fellow marines poured out of that plane and formed up quickly to attack the air base I have never been more proud of my branch of the service. They looked good and performed with a sense of urgency that was palpable. I also remember feeling a small amount of fear and anxiety. These guys coming at us were professional warriors and if you've never seen a well disciplined company of marine infantryman taking an objective you've missed an intimidating thing of beauty. I could not follow the details of their movements since it was getting near to dark but in less than a minute they were threatening are well-prepared positions.

About five minutes later I had been shot and killed. I foolishly lifted my head over my cover and got nailed. What do you expect from a radio operator?
A good look at the war

Troy sent me an entry by Kottke concerning this here war we're waging. Many of you that read this blog have probably already read it but if you haven't you should. Maybe "should" isn't the right word. Who am I to boss you around? Right? Let's just say I recommend reading it. Now.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

It's about durn time

Ever wonder when someone was going to create on online three dimensional visual thesaurus? Your wait is over, bubba. Click here to witness the revolution.

Another cool site

Thanks to a blogger named Julia for a cool site called Exactitudes which shows how similar we all are, even the weirdos.
When red alert hits I will be outside, naked, holding a sign that says "arrest me occifer"

Are they serious?

Ever hear that track by Jello Biafra on that Ice-T album? "Stay in your homes! Shut up! Do what we tell you!" Something like that.
The pregame show

Earlier this evening I couldn't help but turn on the news networks and see how they were covering the upcoming Iraqi war of liberation. I swear to god, CNN actually had a countdown to the deadline for Iraqi compliance to Bush's quadruple dog dare. I was waiting for Terry Bradshaw to show up and analyze the chances of the underdog Iraq against the powerhouse United States. He could tell us if the weak Iraqi defense actually had a chance against the well coached overpowering American offense. Has anybody laid any odds on this? What is the body count over/under for Iraqi military and civilian casulties and American casulties from friendly fire?

All that was missing from the pregame show was a sexy weather lady and the Up with War Dancers. Is there anyway to make a dance out of the steps involved with applying a tourniquet? There has to be. There is still time to get a half-time show together. I am sure Celine Dion or Mutt Lange's plastic wife could have song ready for that in just a few days.

One more goddamn thing

I flipped over to the horrible Fox 'news' network and saw their anchor blast Daschle for his comments on George Bush's diplomacy failings. After giving his strong anti-Daschle opinion he then went back to reporting on the news of the upcoming war. Opinion has always leaks into news but this Limbaughian move was, to me borderline unethical.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Something New

In an attempt to get more hits, I mean, in an attempt to join a larger community I have joined Blog Critics. I enjoy writing reviews since I am opinionated unlike everyone else in the world. The following is the text of my first review which I hope I can figure out how to publish there.

The Mekons: OOOH!

The Mekons were a band that I thought was like beer. I thought they were an acquired taste. What I didn’t realize was that I didn’t know enough about music and life to really understand what was going with a Mekons record. I may not still know fully what is being said on this album but I feel like I inhabit a world where there is room for the Mekons to not only be important but enjoyed as well.

Out of our heads is a subdued album by most standards but it beats with the resilience of a group of artists making mature music that is too complicated and honest to ever be heard on the radio. The Mekons adopt or usurp images from our shared religions, mythology and fairy tales. They live in a land full of “dangerous bibles,” where “seed of the devil lives on in men” and it’s an “endless winter.”

Don’t think these images are from a brooding album full of hopelessness. It’s not. This is a very hopeful album. An album that asserts the joys of secular spirituality. The celebration that is apparent in “Take his Name in Vain” is the focal point of this album for me. Perhaps religion is seen by them as “old familiar vampires are sucking our power, must have heard me, take his name in vain.” This song can been seen as defying any and all organized religions and feeling damn good about it.

The celebratory and sing along mood of the album often belies the reality of some of the lyrics. This contrast seems to me an assertion of our human need to celebrate for tomorrow we may die, as they say. These guys want to shake your worldview while you whistle along and tap your foot.

You can view the real thing here.

Oh, this ain't scary

Remember when Germany invaded Poland and the USSR invaded Poland also so they could be sure to get their piece of the pie? It looks like Turkey feels it is short some territory.
Fuck Jerry Seinfeld

I got very excited when I heard that Jerry Seinfeld was going to be playing an extra show in Charlotte since his first one sold out so quickly. Then I checked the prices of a ticket. Are you ready for this? $45-$75. Forty five bucks to watch one person tell jokes for an hour!? He obviously doesn't live in the same world we do. How can he justify to himself such an outrageous charge? He doesn't even have guitar techs for chrissakes. I paid forty bucks for the KISS reunion tour in 1996 and they at least blew a bunch of shit up and there was four of them and a huge road crew.

I blame this crap on the Eagles. Remember that Hell Freezes over tour a few years ago? It was the first big tour to charge $90 for the good seats becasue an Eagles reunion was "special." I remember going to bed every night for weeks praying that this tour would flop like no other tour ever had. Unfortunately in was a rousing success and those creeps made millions and now every act that think it can fill a room charges as much as possible. Fuck that. Give me Mojo Nixon for five bucks in a room full of drunks. Iggy Pop for $20 in a half full club. The Seinfelds and the Eagles of the entertainment INDUSTRY will never get a dime of my money.

Ooops, wait a minute. Seinfeld's been on television. What the fuck am I doing? He's been on TV! Please, don't tell my TV I was bad mouthing one if its favorite sons. It may ground me. You know, the price of Jerry's show is the same as my cable bill. Maybe Jerry sends researchers out there and finds out what the average cable bill is. He figures, hey, if they pay this much to watch me in syndication they can sure as shit afford to pay that much to watch me for one night live.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003


Anti-war debate aside (I think it's obvious how I feel) I found it interesting last night to once again watch Bush try to convince us of the grave consequences of not killing Iraqis. What I found most stiking were the import of his words when he officially gave the Iraqi dictator 48 hours to get the hell out of Dodge. Instead of hours he should have given him until sundown Thursday. Even when I heard and read that he was going to make such a statement you are not prepared for such a finality. It's like when the plane taking me to boot camp landed in San Diego. I felt that same dread of irreversability. As always with such speeches you know what is going to be said so the presentation becomes what you concentrate on. No one was swayed from their former position but everything is now laid out for us and we are committed. I will pray for a low death toll.

Monday, March 17, 2003

An apology

I would like to apologize to those, on both sides, who are about to die in this upcoming conflict in Iraq since money from my meager salary is directly tied to it. Also to those who will lose friends and family in this senseless event. There will be blood soon on my hands as an American. I am appalled by my indirect participation. Every missile and bullet I have a scant investment in. I and my friends, who also are opposed to this butchery, will have to somehow resolve our luxurious lifestyle, once again, with the death and suffering of others.
A poem for an SUV commercial

Open mountain passes
speak my name.
Caribou bow down
and speak my praises.
Dost thou knowest my
leather seats?
Dost thou ever go off road?
Do nottest thou ask me
for I be free as the mountain air
and as luxurious
as a tank of premium.

Who knows my name?
It is the wind.
The wind calls for my buttocks,
I careen amongst the glaciers
who do not ask my name but
honor my axle clearance.

I take a handful of tundra
which is a thick salad.
I hold a rock which is as
a rock like no other.
No other rock has
ever been so stoney
and permanent.
Without remorse this rock
is like the hills yet smaller.

Smaller than the hills
is this rock in my hand.
My hands like my feet
but with thumbs
and fewer calluses
and a better aroma
grip the wheel of my
freedom machine!

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Bunker Brothers return to studio, end up pissed

Last night after a long hiatus the Bunker Brothers attempted to put a song down on wax. After way too many hours the master of the song was completed. After listening to the song the boys realized the song was not completed and needed a complete reworking and all three members decided they needed replacing. A long melee ensued which went on for hours and was only broken up when Wendell realized his beer was empty. Chris then went home and Ed spent a half hour waiting for "tv to get funny."

Saturday, March 15, 2003

A crippling stoppage

My kitchen sink is clogged. I'm pretty sure it's not my fault. I think stuff and shit was accumulating there for years and it finally stopped up. I am sure it has nothing to do with those potato skins I sent through the garbage disposal.

Activity in the household has come to a standstill with the occurence of the backed up sink. We can't do dishes so we can't eat. We're confused and disoriented so we have decided to go out and eat brunch. We can only hope that maintanence will have shown up and fixed our sink before we return.

Crisis alleviated

The maintanence fella showed up with one of those super-sized black plungers and unplugged our sink after about ten minutes worth of plungering. I should have broken out my four track and recorded the sounds made by this activity. The sound made by the plunger and the water reminded me of a surfacing whale exhaling and sucking in another breath. Or it could have been the sound of a giant sinkhole forming under an interstate.

I was reading an article in the Charlotte Observer this morning about the twelve mile backup on I-85 north just north of Charlotte. Twelve miles! If I had been in that traffic jam I would have thrown myelf under the tires of the nearest tractor trailer after gouging my wrists with my keys.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Intervention time

Michael of has once again graced(?) the whole world with an acapulco version of a song.

The planned intervention will take place Sunday around noon after Michael gets back from church. His soul will be filled with the grace of god so he will be susceptible to suggestion.

Top ten songs that Michael should do acapulcolly

10. God of Thunder by Kiss
9. Theme song to Sanford and Son
8. Old Man River
7. Cars hiss by my window by the Doors
6. Anything by Rockbitch
5. That song by Tatu. He and James can make out during the song
4. Working Class Hero by John Lennon
3. House of Bamboo as done by Southern Culture on the Skids
2. Belsen was a Gas by the Sex Pistols
1. If Six was Nine by Jimi Hendrix

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Shake em on down

Last night Chris and I went to a great venue in Asheville, NC called the Orange Peel. Someone sunk a lot of money into this joint. Even the bathrooms were beautiful.

I am really starting to like Asheville a lot. The place just has a very positive vibe surrounding it. Hippy chicks are everywhere, there are great privately owned shops, cool clean air, an attractive downtown, great privately owned restaurants and friendly people. Really friendly people. I would love to live there.

The show we went to see at the Orange Peel was headlined by a group called the Smiling Assassins. It's a side project for members of Widespread Panic and the North Mississippi All-Stars. We were there to see the opening band called the Kenny Brown Band. They are on the Fat Possum label and it's basically the band that backs up R.L. Burnside with a bass player thrown in. I hadn't heard some true Mississippie droning blues in a long time and as soon as Kenny hit that first note on his slide guitar and the band kicked into "Rollin and Tumblin" my body became like liquid and the music was a pool skimmer that swiped all of the negativity I possessed. I felt myself becoming thinner like my body was slowly getting less dense and I almost floated away. It was truly soul cleansing. Ever see those maniacs that get themselves worked up in a church over nothing? They should experience north Mississippi blues played by experts and they will truly encounter the spiritual.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Hey, Ho, Let's go to a rock show

Yesterday afternoon Michael and I drove up to Chapel Hill to see the band Yo La Tengo. Being completely unfamiliar with Yo La Tengo I went because I happened to be off and a road trip with Michael and James sounded like fun. Unfortunately, James couldn't make it because he got sick. If you want details go to his blog.

I spent the trip up playing with Michael's new digital camera. I spent about an hour trying to take pictures of other motorists as we passed them. They turned out just as silly as you might think. The only precaution I took was not to take pictures of someone who liked they might react to the invasion by trying to kill us.

Upon arriving at the club we might Tom and we went and had dinner at Mama Dipps. Who knew that spaghetti could be so greasy? It's darn good food but it'll send you running.

We had a lot of time to kill before the show so we went to a few bookstores and record stores. I bought the recent CD by the Blind Boys of Alabama and a novel by Patricia Anthony who is a criminally ignored writer, dadgummit. We went to one store in Chapel Hill called the Internationalist and I think we may have stumbled into a meeting of the Weather Underground. Nice people but they looked a little paranoid.

We then went by a Harris Teeter so Michael could buy chapstick and I could get a remedy for Mama Dipps. With an hour to kill the three of us sat in Tom's car and bullshitted and laughed and just plain caught up. The nice banter between three people that are very comfortable in each others presence that don't get to hang out too often.

The Yo la Tengo show was pretty darn good. I haven't been to Cat's Cradle that often but each time I go I leave impressed by quality of the sound system. They really put a lot of effort into presenting their customers with excellent sound. It's the kind of sound that will keep you coming back.

Although I enjoyed Yo La Tengo's performance I found it lacking just a little bit. I may be missing something but these accomplished musicians perform songs by other musicians better than they play their own. They're so eclectic that it's hard for them to establish a groove. Perhaps they should watch a David Childers show and see how a master changes tone effectively.

The last half hour of the show was the best portion of the show for me. The band relaxed, played some covers and, upon returning to their own material, played it with a purpose that was lacking earlier in the night. Any show that includes roaring covers of "Roadrunner" and "What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding" is not a waste of time. Goddamn, that cover of "Roadrunner" made me want to run up front and jump off the stage.

Thanks, Michael, for driving up there. I had a darn good time.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Things that went wrong in the phone interview I just finished

1) Didn't have a glass of water with me to relieve my mouth as it got dry from talking and nervousness.
2) Left a window open that Gallagher the Invincible Cat could get out through. Had to pause the interview to retrieve his dumb ass. It seemed to amuse my interviewers.
3) Overall nervousness made me sound like a blathering idiot at least twice.
4) Absolutely bombed the question "Why do you want to work at this particular position?" I was not ready for that one. I think it killed my chances. I can think of many things to say right now.

Things that went right

1) Fucking nailed it when they asked me to name five ready reference resources. I damn near forgot to mention local phone book.
2) I got better as it went along, thereby sounding less like the aforementioned blathering idiot.
3) I also nailed the question that always comes up, "Why do you want to work in a public library?"

Is there a process in this world, other than being tortured by Pat Buchanan, more difficult to deal with than job searching?
You have got to be fucking kidding me

Just in case you didn't already have a reason to thank god everyday that Pat Buchanan never made it into the white house read this. Maybe his next column will be on why it's OK to eat baby flesh as long as it has the possibility to stop terrorism.

one more thing

I should have mentioned, and Michael brought it up yesterday when I told him about this column, is that under torture a person will admit anything just to get the torture to stop. I'm sure Pat knows this but if he had mentioned that it would have ruined his typically one-sided arguments.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

The Final Frontier

I can't wait to get tail gated by a brainless business person on his cell phone driving one of these babies. Now when you have road rage you'll have to use a crow bar to pry the offender's door open before you can shoot him.
Bless you, ma'am

I received a call here at the 'brary yesterday from a delightful angry old lady. She wanted me to find out how Democratic minority leader, Nancy Pelosi had voted on the H.J. Resolution 114. This is the vote that gave our ding dong of a president the authority to kill lots of folk in Iraq. She got herself all worked up, informed me that she was 86 and didn't believe one man should be allowed to make such a decision. Being the consummate professional that I am, I refrained from chiming in my support of her position but she did go on to say how she would love to have a list of how every member of congress voted on that resolution. I had the list in front of me courtesy of the House's website and I offered to mail it to her. She enthusiastically took me up on that and told me I was a sweetheart. I hope she raises holy hell with a few congressman.

Spring inches closer

No, it's not the lovely 70 degree weather we are having today that causes me to think of spring. It's the crazy guy I saw at the corner of Trade and Tryon holding a bible preaching to no one that signals that spring is crawling ever closer.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

internet book list

Ever wondered if there was an internet movie database type of website for books? Well, these guys are trying to put one together. Go there! Enjoy!
Schizophrenia as demonstrated by our beloved prez

"As a last resort, we must be willing to use military force," Bush said in his radio remarks. "We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force."

A well-phrased line from a March 7 New York Times Op-Ed piece: "The only diplomatic initiative he described was a firm intention to have the Security Council vote on a resolution authorizing action..."

Friday, March 07, 2003

Snow and Foolishness pt. 2

The plastic death trap was known to the kids as "the banana peel." No one had ever been able to go farther than about ten feet on this piece of shit before they were on their butt or face in the snow. On this day Ed had declared to Scott and Johnny that the snow conditions were right for taking the banan peel down the steep face of the hill behind the house. Always open to a good wipeout on a sled Johnny and Scott enthusiastically volunteered to witness his attempt at familial legend. The snow was in perfect midwinter form with a solid base with recent fall drifting across the countryside, piling up against homes, car tires and woodpiles.

Ed pulled the string taught and called down to his two friends, "You guys ready?"

"Yeah, c'mon!" hollered Scott, "Let's go!"

Johnny turned to Scott. "Do you think he'll make it?"

"Hell no, he's gonna bust his ass."

"Won't he get hurt?"

"He's never got hurt yet on the banana peel. He's the only one that tries to ride that piece of junk."

"Here I go!" Ed called out.

"This is going to be hilarious," Scott laughed as Ed began to move slowly down the steep slope.

Johnny and Scott were standing halfway down the hill and Ed didn't reach them. The ride down started out slow as all sled rides did. He kicked forward like a skateboarder and pulled the string back tight and held on. His speed increased imperceptibly. Almost immediately he felt the sensation of real speed and felt the familiar wind on his face and then he was in the snow. His bright blue, white and black world was now all white and cold. His audience, small in number but large in shared experience, paused in their laughter long enough to ask Ed if he was alright.

"I'm fine. I'm going back up, too."

"You definately should," Scott encouraged, "you almost made it off the top of the hill."

Several more times he attempted to ride the banana peel upright to the bottom of that hill. Several more times he planted himself into the forgiving embrace of the snow. His audience was entranced. Their fascination was not with his bravery or skill but with the variety of his wipeouts. He entered the snow to his right and left, face forward and on his ass. He executed somersaults as he hit. He would hit and stick. He would slide across the snow nearly to the bottom of the hill. The banana peel would get away. He would hold on to it. The side of the hill began to look like the pockmarked surface of an old battlefield. There were small trails in the snow from chunks of snow that had carved out of the base and rolled down the hill. Before Ed could give up Scott and Johnny became bored.

"Stop, stop." Said Scott. "You're never going to make it."

"Yeah, I know. I thought I could. What do you want to do?"

Johnny spoke up. "Let's go inside. It's cold."

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Snow and Foolishness

Halfway down the hill his step brother, Scott, and their mutual friend, Johnny stood waiting for the show. His name is Ed and he is eleven. All three of the boys were bundled sensibly for extended exposure to a northern Michigan winter. They are wearing gloves, wool caps, boots and snow pants. Winter has reached the stage wear the question of coolness does not enter into your choice of attire. As long-time residents of this rural snowscape warmth has no fashion sense. Ed is about to go sledding down a very steep hill and protection is of the upmost importance. Of course this protection does not lend itself to the considerations of helmets or pads. In 1979 helmets were worn by football players and those on motorcycles, not by kids risking their lives on sleds and bicycles. He wold be warm if he wiped out, the rest was up to god.

The hill from which Ed was looking down on his to compatriots was behind his fathers house. The hill was actually the side of a valley about two hundred yards across. At bottom of the valley was a seasonal marsh and creek. The creek ran strong in the spring with the winter runoff from gradually sloping higher ground and the marsh lasted well into summer before it dried enough to merely be spongy turf. The sides of the valley, being carved by water, were very steep and the bottom of the valley was one hundred feet below. He looked over his friends heads. Across the valley on the horizon there was a dead tree that had been there as long as could remember. There was not a cloud in the sky and the stark black of the long-dead trunk was incongruous against the frozen blue sky. He always found bright sunny days in the middle of winter the most beautiful days of the year. He felt that fall at its explosive peak or summer at its friendliest paled when put up against the blue, white and black of a sunny winter day. It was like a black and white television floating in an ocean.

The device he was going to tackle the hill with he was standing on. It was a yellow plastic water ski shaped object with a rope strung through the front tip which allowed the passenger to hang on. It had ridges on the surface which ostensibly were there to improve the rider's grip. Neither the ridges nor the rope gave the rider better stability. Plastic Wonderbread bags taped to your feet would give you a longer upright ride.

How many were you?

It had been coming all night. Its warnings were dim flashings and barely audible grumblings of far distant thunder. The approaching storm deserved a moment of my attention. I stuck my head out the back door of my building. All I could see were low indistinguishable clouds colored a yellow/orange by the city lights. The stars which always struggle for attention were complete annihilated. I went back inside and cut off disc one of the movie I had stolen that evening off the internet. Its choppy sounds and video interrupted by my desire to witness possible forbodings by the local weather men. This storm must truly be minor, I thought, not even the crass station of death is busting in with RADAR images of possible, however remote, destruction.

Because of my desire to witness the full CD after it had taken all day to download my approach to my bed was delayed. I was in a holding pattern on my couch as certain well-known characters from a popular series of book attempted to thwart evil in its many forms. Strangely, on my couch, with inferior sound and video this movie seemed less ass than when I saw it in the theater. As I download and view the rest I may revert back to my original impression since the major plot changes have yet to occur.

I was asleep well after 1 am last night this morning. I was drowsing but had not entered deep sleep when the storm arrived. It arrived without wind and severe thunder. Last night's storm was a gentle white noise that enveloped instead of shook. I always enjoy moments like that because I know I am not the only one that was been gently stirred by this harmless cow of storm as it lolls its way through our neighborhood. The natural world moving through as a reminder that our claim of dominance is temporary and there are other forces less malevolent but stonger and more destructive.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Amongst the dead and the sleepy

last night during the indeterminate time between sleep and slumber I lay on my back in my small bed. A unnatural white light softly streamed through yellowed and dusty venusian blinds from the streetlight that illuminates the back courtyard of my building. Rednecks used to play horseshoes back there when I first moved in. I miss the clang of the shoes and the drunken laughter that always ended at 11 pm because if they didn't end at 11 the old softball team captain, with her salt and pepper hair and square jaw, that lived on the third floor would call the police. Like an occasionally occuring dream I see one of the former horseshoe players on their infrequent visits to another long-term resident of my complex. One of them even moved back once after he caught his old lady scromping another guy. When he recounted the event it gave me a perverse pleasure to be on friendly terms with someone who could truthfully utter the words "I went and loaded up my shotgun and told him to get the fuck out of my house or I'd kill 'im."

The orange cat enters my room and moves destructively onto the chair and then onto the folding table that stands in for a desk. He pushes material off the desk with the meticulous deliberation of an artist until I snarl and make it obvious to him that I am getting out of bed. Only then will he stop and run out of the room, his tail in the air like a middle finger. I then hear him tackle the black and white cat, claws tear into carpet as fur-exhuding felines change directions. The black and white cat protests like a baby being drowned, two taut bodies crash into the front door, more carpet tears. Then silence.

Then the crazy lady upstairs turns her water on and lets it run. I will be asleep before the water stops running. I believe she is running water in her tub. I do not want to know what is going on up there. She lives on the third floor and the second floor apartment that is a buffer between us is vacant. In the last couple of years since a long-time female resident moved out she has succesfully driven two pairs of male roommates out of the second-floor apartment due to constant complaining on her part. The two guys that recently moved to another building in the complex were so paranoid after weekly calls to the police that they were afraid to play music or watch television at a normal volume. The alpha male of the two admitted to me that he was afraid to light up while watching television because he never knew whether or not the police would come a-knocking.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Crossing over with me

Ok, I saw about thirty seconds of the appearance on Larry King by that fucking asshole, John Edward. Thirty seconds of complete bullshit is my limit, man. I have decided to offer a service to you, the lovely and talented readers of this blog. The following pieces of dialogue will allow you to communicate with your deceased loved ones. Please answer truthfully or this will not work and you could summon evil spirits that may take you to hell or someplace worse like Oceanside, CA.

Have you lost someone close to you recently? If yes then click here.

If the answer is no then has someone close to you lost someone close to them? If the answer is yes then click here. If the answer to this question is no then go read a goddamn book or something and leave me alone.
Crossing over with me

Ok, I saw about thirty seconds of the appearance Larry King by that fucking asshole, John Edward. Thirty seconds of complete bullshit is my limit, man. I have decided to offer service you the lovely and talented readers of this blog. The following pieces of dialogue will allow you to communicate with your loved ones. Please answer truthfully or this will not work and you could summon evil spirits that may take you to hell or someplace worse like Oceanside, CA.

1) Have you lost someone close to you recently? If yes then click
The good and dumb Reverend

We get a reverend that calls here occasionally. She is dumb as a box of rocks. In fact I believe she could be out debated by a box of rocks. If she made a statement and then you shook the box of rocks, the box of rocks would make more sense than the good reverend.

For so many years I cruised. What I mean is until fairly recently I didn't feel like I was getting older or changing in any big ways. Of course I have, there are definite chapters in my life. They each have names depending on who I was with or what I was doing or who I was doing or wanted to do. Each of these chapters overlaps other chapters like melting neopolitan ice cream. Some chapters abut each other like a mixture of water and oil flowing in a gutter, they move together in the same stream but are seperate as they move yet affected by the same currents. Some of these chapters have a lock on them like the laundry room door at my apartment complex. Many people have the code to this room but we don't meet there very often.

I am currently reading a book by Pat Conroy called "My Losing Season." I know it shouldn't, because people is just people, but whenever someone like Conroy admits to terrible personal problems and even suicidal thoughts I find it shocking. You can't help but think, hey, you are a great writer, admired by thousands, why shouldn't you be the happiest person in Beaufort, SC? We all know that just isn't how it works. Often our greatest artists are our craziest fucks. I'm not saying Pat Conroy is a crazy fuck, he's just a fella like you and me. His life has chapters just like mine and occasionally he has a bad chapter.

As I was laying awake last night in another vain attempt to fall asleep before midnight I was contemplating this tendency of our kind to take our own lives. I don't know if it's obvious but it has to stem from our big brains. We are the only creatures we have met yet that can truly contemplate our own existence. We have created gods and approached the possibility of reaching the stars. We have always had the ability to grasp our own insignificance and the world can overwhelm us.
(Corporate) Radio sucks

Like I need another reason to listen to KEXP, WNCW and 3WK. This here article discusses the deplorable practice of voicetracking which allows a DJ from far far away appear to actually be concerned about the local market he is being broadcast in on tape. Shit, even transgalactic radio personality, Ruby Rhod broadcasted live. Super green.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Battle Fatigue

I have read a few personal memoirs about warfare over the years and one theme that runs through all these books is the constant state of exhaustion of a soldier in a combat situation. It is caused by the extreme stress of combat and simple lack of sleep and simple comforts. Last evening I played Axis and Allies: Europe with Dutch and Bookpimp. After about hour five I now understood what those writers were speaking of. It's a pretty complicated game that requires a lot of time to finish. Not even the 40 plus ounces of Mountain Dew I drank was enough to clear the cobwebs in my brain as the pressures of my battlefield decisions continued to mount. I was playing the Soviet Union and Dutch was controlling the German forces. We exchanged eastern Poland a number of times and, late in the game, I lost Stalingrad and Leningrad in one turn. I gained the cities back quickly since my enemy's troops were stretched and his lines were weak. Despite our exhaustion we did soldier on and did not end the game until it was obvious that Bookpimp, who was controlling England and the United States, and I were ready to overwhelm Dutch's forces.

We did learn something from our gaming experience that ended around three. We decided to start our next war in the afternoon and not the evening.

More about fake war

I have to give mucho credit to whoever designed this game. Initially Germany has the upper hand, especially in eastern Europe and they can blitz quickly into Russian territory. But capable allied generals should be able to eventually overwhelm the German player. Although, simply because of a monetary, advantage the allies should propel the German forces, a good German commander can make it difficult even if he inexplicably buys troop carriers late in the game. Dutch proved that by twice throwing the allies off the beaches in France. I want to play again right now.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Piss your time away

Have you ever wondered if there was a website that posted picture of urinals from around the world? Your search is over, my friend.
something that no one reading this will give two shits about

Today I went into Borders with a gift certificate my mother sent me for my birthday. In case you are curious, I bought two DVD's. One was the Free Tibet concert which was a little disappointing and I also purchased Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young which is a classic and I'm pretty sure that means it's good. This is not the part you will not care about, this is just small talk so I can get myself riled up enough to address my concern.

We all have guilty pleasures. My biggest guilty pleasure is the rock band KISS. I was a KISS fan in my childhood and I make no apologies for being a fan (though I like them less currently because their desire for money, which has always been voracious, is getting bad even for them) because in your childhood certain things get hardwired into your brain that you can't shake no matter how hard you try. For example, my stepfather yelled a lot. He yelled so much that even now when someone raises their voice I get jittery.

Each time I go into a store that sells videos I always to the knowingly fruitless search for a KISS concert video. I know they have footage in their vaults. I have seen bootleg videos of their glory days and some of them have been professionally shot. Why, oh why, do they not release this stuff? Instead of releasing these videos which I would unashamedly purchase and watch with glee they market those stupid KISS Koffins and plastic dolls.

For a while I just couldn't understand why this stuff was not released. There can only be two reasons that I can concieve. I may be wrong, probably am, but here is what I think. I think that 1) they are waiting for the perfect time to release this stuff. Somewhere there is a chart marking the time the marketing scum think these videos will be a strong sell or 2) I tend to think they are not thrilled by the quality of their performances. I'm not saying that the performances are bad but there is such a mystique that surrounds those KISS shows from the seventies that they likely believe the marketing of the nostalgia of this time through collectibles is more profitable than releasing the actual performances. You see this same strategy played out with the Star Wars franchise. Rather than being sold the actual motion pictures or the music they sell us our memories through toys.